Fordham Foundry and SuitUp Partner in First-Ever Battle of the Boroughs Competition Designed to Diversify Financial Services Talent Pipeline at the Earliest Stages
Featured Events | Nov 28, 2022 | Gabelli School of Business
By Paola Curcio-Kleinman
With the support of prominent financial services partners, NYC middle and high school students will compete across the boroughs to create a product or service that celebrates and rebuilds a sense of community in Post-Pandemic New York City
On December 14, 2022, hundreds of NYC middle school and high school students, from across every NYC borough, will descend upon the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus. They will participate in a first-ever, SuitUp “Battle of the Boroughs” competition, which will focus on diversifying the talent pipeline in the financial services sector by engaging students in an exercise that will introduce them to the world of finance, while simultaneously creating a product or service that celebrates and rebuilds a sense of community in New York City.
SuitUp, a nonprofit entity that strives to increase career readiness for all students through innovative business plan competitions, has partnered with the Fordham Foundry, Fordham University’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship within the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, a thought leader in business education for the future and in the areas of social and corporate responsibility, to encourage more students—especially those from underrepresented communities—to consider careers in financial services. In addition, it has enlisted financial services partners including Santander Bank, Goldman Sachs, Echo Street Capital Management, New Mountain Capital, Angelo Gordon, Apollo Global Management, RBC Wealth Management, Ares Management, and Insight Partners that will serve as coaches and judges for the contest, which will pit students from across the City’s diverse school districts in a friendly competition designed to open their eyes to the possibilities of positive change through business.
The financial services talent pipeline shows a lack of representation of people of color and those who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Today, 85% of executive positions are held by white men and only 1% of Fortune 500 companies have an African American CEO. Many financial services companies still lack the strategies needed to further future diversity in the industry and the talent pipeline is just not there at the collegiate level or lower.
“The SuitUp Battle of the Boroughs competition is designed to remove barriers and provide students in underserved communities exposure to the financial services industry,” said Lauren Reilly, SuitUp’s executive director. “This competition will accelerate students’ excitement to enter the financial services industry by immersing them in an activity that clearly demonstrates the power of the industry. Students will engage in experiential, hands-on learning that increases 21st Century skills they can carry into their bright future.”
Coached by a participating financial services sponsor, the student “CEOs” participating in the competition will need to develop a product or service they sense will celebrate and rebuild a sense of community in Post-Pandemic New York City. Each idea must include a profit margin, a 3-year financial model, and a list of KPIs to measure success. The winning team from each borough will go “head-to-head” in a true battle of the boroughs final. Through the experience, financial services professionals will come together to make a commitment to furthering future diversity in their industry as a whole. Students will walk away from the experience with a greater understanding of the financial services industry, the business world as a whole, and the confidence that they too can be CEOs one day.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of and lend our support to this very important initiative,” said Al Bartosic, executive director of the Fordham Foundry. “Enlightening young people, especially those from underrepresented communities about the power of business and entrepreneurship in serving as catalysts for change, closely aligns with our mission. We are very much looking forward to seeing the positive solutions these students create and in serving as a springboard for their entry into the world of business.”
The competition will take place on December 14, 9:00 – 2:00 p.m. in the McNally Amphitheater at the Gabelli School of Business, 140 West 62nd Street, New York, NY. Final judging will take place from 1:15 – 2:00 p.m.